ASI Queensland State Manager John Gardner recently presented the paper “How to reduce the risk of structural steelwork failing in your projects” at the 2021 Institute of Public Works Engineering Australasia Queensland (IPWEAQ) conference.
This paper discusses the trend towards the increased use of a Design & Construct procurement process on some projects which has served to drive steel fabrication and construction costs down, but sometimes at the expense of inadvertently using non-compliant structural steelwork. This has resulted in maintenance problems and potential failure or a shortened life of the structure. This is particularly relevant when the procurement process involves importing low-cost (and often non-compliant) steelwork from fabrication workshops in countries where regulatory and commercial practices do not necessarily align with the Australian community expectation for safety and risk. A number of specific examples of non-compliances are covered including a case study of a failed steel truss alongside a roadway which highlights the risk and consequences of non-compliant product. The initial cost saving between local and imported fabricated steel for the project was in the order of $100,000, whilst the additional cost to rectify and rebuild the truss was over 8 times the initial cost saving plus the legal fees and associated stress.